French is spoken fluently by around 120 million inhabitants worldwide, of whom 50 million live in France itself.
Plus spoken in many other parts of the earth including Canada (particularly Quebec), Belgium, Switzerland, numerous countries right through North, Central, and West Africa, as well as a number of Asian countries.
As an expat (UK) when you speak French, it sounds romantic and sexy and fascinating.
In England we speak French every day
Using such phrases such as
C’est la vie (that is life)
De ja vu ,
RSVP (respondez s’il vous plait) or
Excusez-moi (as Delboy would say!)
Or how about expressions like Entrepreneur or hors d’oeuvre,
they get integrated in our conversations as matter of course.
There are reports (wikipedia) that around 30% of all English terms have a french origin many imported through out the centuries following the Norman Conquest of 1066.
Our lives and language have been entwined for centuries and really no more than the pronunciation of many words are changed
..Therefore the excellent news for all of you who aspire to speak french, is that you are already around a 3rd of the way there!!
In the UK we are taught fundamental French in School and many of us disliked it ..But I know that as I grew up I admired anybody who can be fluent in a foreign language, and I really wanted to learn and speak French.
I am blessed to be in the situation that I am in , living here in France, being able to practice on a daily basis. It is hard in as much as complete immersion is splendid but if you don’t understand the basics you can struggle to understand what is going on, especially in real life situations , they speak so quickly!!!!!
It is also valuable to get your confidence. Generally people are patient and really want to help you to learn and improve. In the 5 years that we have owned our farmhouse here, in France, we have not come across anybody who has been rude or impatient with us, in-fact the French people go out of their way to help us and often apologise for not speaking English (hey, why ought to they, we live in their land!)
Anyway ..My point is ..There isn’t one solution
Some would advocate an online course, or listening to MP3’s or reading books, or a residential course or a tutor or weekly lessons ..What I think is you need a combination:
*There is little point in learning something and then not practicing it,
You must learn something in a fun, straightforward way, not laboriously otherwise you will give up! So discover a way to practice and converse french frequently
*From time to time you need to re-learn or re-evaluate things that you have learned, so a point of reference is always useful (book, recording etc)
*Gain knowledge of from someone native from that country, all my French teachers at school were English and then I wonder why my accent is so bad!
*Using an online French program that does not confine you to only reading or just listening and repeating is good. *Make sure you go for an interactive program so it engages all your senses and therefore intensify the learning experience
*Practice is important, if you have a tutor once a week do you really think you will improved? ..If you arrange a tutor and practice using an online/download program as well you will recieve both
*Have a holiday and practice, have fun with your new skill , grow your confidence
*Take pleasure in the learning journey
So what ever your motivation for learning French is ..Have fun ..
And remember you understand more than you think already!
About the Author
I love France and I am sure you do too..if yes ..then you will love my site, a mixture of my life in France,my observations plus a few great tips and ideas about how to learn the language and make the most of France and all it has to offer (even if you don’t live there!)